Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Face It, This Is What We're Up Against


So there was this one time I went for a new job in secret (working with U.S. college students coming over for study abroad) and I really, really wanted this job because I really, really needed something outside of MOTH Dude and our friends that I loved about Australia and that would keep me distracted from missing my family and California and just because it sounded fun and like something I'd enjoy doing and then...

I didn't get it.

And on the same day our oven decided it wasn't going to work properly anymore and instead spewed noxious brown smoke that filled the house in under 7 minutes, leaving our furniture, bedding, and clothing all smelling like burnt plastic.

Keep those punches coming Australia, I'm slowly learning to roll with them. I mean letting things go right for once would just be too easy, huh? Yep, I thought so, too!

Today, I'm picking myself back up again- appreciating all the hugs I received from people at work, washing the sheets and hanging our comforter out on the line since fresh laundry rocks anyway, and having all the windows open, letting in the light and the fresh air.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hold Me Close When Tradewinds Blow

Me (in the distance) on the grass area in front of our condo watching for whales.

So the day before we were due to leave for Kauai, I was still not feeling well. I went to my regular doctor and he checked my ears after I told him my symptoms and he said I didn't know how I was able to hear anything as my one ear was completely blocked up.....ewww! He said I should get some ear drops to loosen the stuff up and then the next morning to come back before we left for the airport and they would clean it out. He also gave me a doctor's note since I'd need to keep putting the drops in my ears every hour and couldn't really be wearing my headset and doing that at the same time. I knew it looked really, really bad to have the two days before a month long holiday off so I drove my sick note the 45 minutes in to work and explained to the girl acting as manager that week what was going on and to prove that I was still physically in the country and not already in Kauai.

Saturday morning, I got up, made sure I was packed and then headed off to the doctor's office. They ended up squirting both of my ears out and it was a pretty weird sensation, but they got the right ear unblocked without bursting my ear drum so I was excited.

I rushed back home and just before noon the shuttle came to pick us up to take us to the airport. The guy was a super slow driver and kept taking these backroad routes that were bumpy and windy and making me kind of nauseous. We finally made it to the airport and up to the counter where MOTH Dude proceeds to read the screen above us that says you can pack a gun in your checked luggage and jokes, "Oh man, so I can't bring it loaded?" I was like, "Ummm, you idiot, did you not see the screen before that one that said 'Please do not make jokes' about weapons or terrorism? Do you want to get arrested or cavity searched? I'll tell them you need a cavity search!" After that, he stopped joking around.

The plane ride was long and uncomfortable and the food that we had to pay extra for was pretty awful. We flew JetStar and I'd recommend a)not flying with them for long flights b) don't buy their food (we prepaid), bring your own on and c) don't bother to buy the comfort/entertainment package. Bring your own blanket and load movies on your laptop. All the ones on their hand held players were old or we'd never heard of them.

We had a 2 hour layover in Oahu and a quick flight over to Kauai. I thought for sure we'd have to wait at the airport for my parents to pick us up, but they were to our baggage claim area within 5 minutes of me calling them. A first for our family, I think! Mom came up behind me and gave me a big hug and had tears in her eyes. MOTH stayed to watch for luggage and I went out to the curb to drop off a bag and give Dad a hug.

Once we had our luggage, we made our way to Walmart and bought some reef walking shoes and some fins for Mom. We then made our way to Koloa Town to have lunch. We went to a place called Tomkats Grille. MOTH Dude got the plate lunch with kalua pork and poke (like ceviche) and thought it was awesome.

This was part of the view from our balcony and from that point we could watch dolphins coming in and whales going by!

After lunch, we finally made our way to our condo at Whaler's Cove. We dropped all of our stuff and hopped in to our bathing suits and hit the pool and jacuzzi. When we got back to the condo, Mom spotted whales from our balcony. Later, Dad, MOTH and I went grocery shopping and then made tacos for dinner and we all sat outside on our balcony to eat and watched the stars and lightning.

The next day, I got up by 7 or 8 am and sat outside with Mom and Dad. Not long after I came out, a huge pod of spinner dolphins cruised past and did a few leaps and spins for us. I then got really tired and passed back out for an hour or two. When MOTH and I finally got up, we decided to make the most of the sunny weather and go swimming and bronzing. As we were laying there, we saw people watching the water. A few minutes later we looked up again and everyone was still watching the water so we figured there must be something really cool out there. We walked to the edge of the pool area and saw the most incredible sight. About 100 yards, if that, off the pool area were three humpback whales cruising along. They were very active and began tail splashing and bringing their heads out of the water and seeming to look back to where we were. All of a sudden one did a full jump out of the water. Then a few minutes later two jumped out of the water back to back. I had never seen wild whales so close before and I had never seen them do so many leaps at a time. We must have seen them breach 5 times or more. It was a pretty incredible experience. We felt very special to have witnessed it.

After that, we decided to head to Costco and MOTH and I were so excited to get pizza and a chicken bake. We also picked up some really nice steaks to barbecue for dinner. When we got home, we all threw on our bathing suits and headed to a nearby beach to snorkel. We must have been out there for over an hour and we just couldn't get enough of all the brightly colored fish we were seeing. We only got out after we started getting the shivers from being cold.

When we got home, we started prepping dinner and mai tais and Dad turned on the news. We were all pretty blown away by the news of Osama bin Laden being killed and sat and watched it for awhile. Dad and MOTH headed out after awhile to cook up dinner and just as they did a quick, heavy rain came over. After a few minutes, it passed and Mom went to go check on them. I spotted some whales in the distance from our balcony so I went down to the pool/barbecue area to let the others know. I think those were the last whales of the trip that we ended up seeing.

Over the next few days, we bronzed a lot, went souvenir shopping, drank an insane amount of mai tais, tried some new restaurants, snorkeled or swam whenever we could, and MOTH Dude went for a scuba dive where he saw a bunch of sea turtles just hanging on the sea floor and taking a nap. It was the perfect, relaxing vacation.

Next up, Part 2 of our trip to Kauai including our adventure paddleboarding, sight seeing at some waterfalls, and a trip to the start of the Napali Coast and one of the prettiest beaches in the world.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Put Your Arms Around Me and I'm Home

Sorry for the large video, it's more for the music then to wouldn't let me resize this one for whatever reason and I have no idea how to fiddle with the code.

I heard this song the last day I was in California and loved it.

I never thought that you would be the one to hold my heart
But you came around and you knocked me off the ground from the start

You put your arms around me
And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go
You put your arms around me and I'm home

How many times will you let me change my mind and turn around
I can't decide if I'll let you save my life or if I'll drown

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling
I'll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I'm home

The world is coming down on me and I can't find a reason to be loved
I never wanna leave you but I can't make you bleed if I'm alone

You put your arms around me
And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling
I'll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I'm home

I tried my best to never let you in to see the truth
And I've never opened up
I've never truly loved 'Till you put your arms around me
And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling
I'll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I'm home

You put your arms around me and I'm home

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In Rain and Regret

So you get another round of cheerful Little D today (sidenote: sarcasm!). Vacation posts to come soon.

You know what blog post I want to read from another expat? The post that says, "You know what? America is more awesome than Australia and I wish I could go back." It seems like everyone else thinks this place is all rainbows and puppies. How come no one writes the honest blog post that says "Today I didn't want to get out of bed because I'm sad that it's summer in the U.S. and freezing cold here and I really miss my family." You never see that post.

Well, I'm here to write it. America is better and I wish I was there right now. America has my parents. America has a higher standard of living, at least my American lifestyle did- no living in a tiny, cold shack. America has cheap baseball and movies. America has more variety. America seems to be more open minded, at least in Northern California where I'd be living does. America is bigger and has bigger things and faster things and better infrastructure.

If not for work, I'd probably not have gotten out of bed since we've been back yet. Is this fair to MOTH Dude? No, not at all. I DO realize that. I try to hide my sadness most days from him and sometimes I do a really bad job of it and I know it makes him feel bad, but I can't help it.

And, by the way, where is it written that just because we met here we have to stay here? That seems to be the consensus among his family members. I don't get the logic in that at all. MOTH Dude is a bit more open to change than they are and thank god because he'll have to be the one to move someday, not them.

We talk about moving to California or Hawaii in 5 years, but sometimes I wonder if I can make it another 5 years. It's only been about 6 and a half so far.

If I look at things objectively, I can see our 5 year plan is a good one since we both have decent paying jobs here right now and our current focus is saving as much as possible for the wedding and a down payment for a house, thus living in this crappy shack and paying the least amount of rent possible. After we get married then we'll probably take a year to just hang out and be married and then start trying for kids. I figure I should pop them out here since I can do it on the free health care system. After kid having (or shitting out kids as I lovingly refer to it), then we plan to move back to California.

I just worry we won't ever make it there. Then what will I do? I don't want to be bitter, bitchy, or angry (or crazy as my mental state from a month and a half ago shows I could easily by on my way to). I don't want to have that regret in my life, that we never moved back.

In saying that though, I don't regret moving here. I don't regret staying with MOTH Dude with the price tag of having to live here for a few more years. We've talked extensively about it and we love each other too much to walk away. Even before we were engaged we decided this.

And I know the U.S. isn't some magical land where all problems are solved and money grows on trees, or all rainbows and puppies, but I come from a really small family unit (me, Mom, Dad, Nae, and a crazy Gma a few hours away) and that's all of us there are in the world. I just don't like the feeling that I've abandoned the family for so long and I don't think growing older necessarily means you have to abandon your family. I know they don't feel abandoned, but what do you call it when you miss everyone's birthdays and all holidays and aren't ever there? I'm not a part of my family anymore except for that month a year I get to go home and I hate that feeling. My family is awesome and I want to be there for all the events, big and small. Even though our kids will have MOTH Dude's last name, I want them to know my family and be close to them because they are pretty rad. I want them to have the upbringing I had. I want them to have the privileges and experiences I had and I just don't see that happening in Australia.

Alright, so I'm feeling better now that I've spilled my heart and my guts to the internet so I'll stop now. I hope that at some point this post can help someone else, too, because they'll know they aren't alone in their craziness or sadness in missing home.